I asked Lily to carry the gallon jug of water to the car. I knew it wouldn't be easy- especially going down the stairs- but at the time my hands were full and I simply needed her help. She grumped and groaned the whole way. By the time she caught up with me at the car I could tell she was steaming mad.
"I'm not strong enough, Mommy!" She demanded loudly as she set the jug down in front of me.
I looked at her and said, "Lily you ARE strong enough. You made it all the way here with no help!"
My answer could not dissuade her frustration and she grumped and cried most of the way to school- obviously scarred for life by a mother who asks too much.
This is the eternal struggle- how much can I ask of her? How much can I expect? How much of a push toward independence is too much? I didn't mind the grumping- I mostly expected it. But what I did mind? She had convinced herself that she wasn't strong enough. That she couldn't do it- and still believed it even after she completed the task successfully!
What inside her is saying that she isn't strong or good or anything "enough"? Why did she focus solely on the fact that the task was tough instead of being proud of herself that she did it?
How can I be a better mom and make sure the seeds of self-confidence and pride grow rather than wither?
How can I let her know that the world is hers for the taking- but she just may have to put in some hard labor along the way- and that is just fine. None of it was made to be easy.
I guess I could take some of that advice for myself.